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Phoenix’s Best Weekend Concerts: Taylor Swift, ATLiens, Vance Joy

Taylor Swift's opening night of her Reputation tour drew a record of almost 60,000 fans to the University of Phoenix Stadium, surpassing the mark of 56,524 set there by One Direction in 2014.
Taylor Swift's opening night of her Reputation tour drew a record of almost 60,000 fans to the University of Phoenix Stadium, surpassing the mark of 56,524 set there by One Direction in 2014. Jim Louvau
As y’all are undoubtedly aware (given the massive amount of hype), pop superstar Taylor Swift is kicking off her blockbuster Eras tour with concerts on Friday and Saturday night in Glendale, which has been temporarily renamed “Swift City” for the occasion.

The gigs are arguably the biggest concerts of the weekend (if not the entire year), but they aren’t the only notable shows happening in the metro Phoenix area over the next 72 hours. There are two outdoor festivals this weekend (Boots in the Park and the Chandler Ostrich Fest), a benefit for a dearly departed member of the local music scene, and a performance by masked EDM duo ATLiens and Australian-born indie pop artist Vance Joy.

Read on for more details about each show and other big concerts in the Valley this weekend. You can also hit up Phoenix New Timeslistings for more live music from Friday, March 17, to Sunday, March 19.


Friday, March 17
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Earthlings of the Valley, you’re about to experience a close encounter with a pair of bass oddities. The otherworldly dance music beings known as ATLiens will descend from the heavens and invade downtown Phoenix venue The Van Buren this weekend. The masked duo won’t be bearing messages of peace and intergalactic unity, but rather auditory assaults of trap-laced dubstep and bass music that will probe minds and induce massive amounts of headbanging, fist-pumping, and other frenetic body movements. Consider acquainting yourself with their colonization procedures by listening to the various EPs they’ve released over the years (including 2018’s Invasion and 2019’s Ghost Planet) or checking out their SoundCloud or Spotify accounts to prepare yourself for their impending arrival. With HOL!, JKL & HYDE, Dark Mark, and Nightglider; 9 p.m., $25 via Benjamin Leatherman
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Will B. (left) and Kev Marcus (right) of Black Violin.
Mark Clennon

Black Violin

Friday, March 17
Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street
"Classical boom" is a music genre where artists fuse classical and hip-hop. And if you've never experienced the musical meld — now's your chance. On Sunday, Black Violin, one of the originators of classical boom, will fiddle and bow to deep bass, quick rap lyrics, R&B, funk, and rock-infused harmonies inside Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center. Black Violin is composed of the classically trained duo Wil B. on the viola and Kev Marcus on the violin. Drummer Nat Stokes and DJ SPS on the turntables provide backup. While the group plays most of their original cuts from various albums — including Classically Trained, Stereotypes, Take the Stairs, and Give Thanks — some of their set is based on covers of popular songs. There's also a "jam session," where they play unique and impromptu material completely off the cuff. 8 p.m., $42-$68 via Mike Madriaga
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Taylor Mania is running wild in the Valley this weekend.
Jim Louvau

Taylor Swift

Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18
State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale
You know Taylor Swift? That's right, the artist who currently has a few different songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Well, she’s kicking off her Eras tour in the Valley later this month with a pair of concerts at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Paramore and GAYLE are scheduled to be the supporting acts. And what will she be performing? Swift has reportedly stated the tour will be a “journey through all of my musical eras,” which Billboard speculates will include hits from her 10 previous studio albums. If you’re planning to join T-Swizzle on this trip through her career, it's going to be an expensive journey. Tickets in the nosebleed sections for either concert are currently between $300 to $500 while floor seats are $1,000 or more. 6:30 p.m. Jennifer Goldberg and Benjamin Leatherman
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Rock-pop hitmakers Train.
Brooke Clark

Chandler Ostrich Festival

Friday, March 17, to Sunday, March 19
Tumbleweed Park, 745 East Germann Road, Chandler
If you missed the first day of this year’s Chandler Ostrich Festival, don’t feel like too big of a birdbrain. The annual event runs through Sunday and you can still partake in its various games, rides, and attractions, or catch any of its nightly concerts headlined by big-name artists. This year’s lineup will include performances by radio-friendly rockers Train at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, iconic soul/funk band The Commodores at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, and ska-punk act Sublime With Rome at 8:45 p.m. on Sunday. Local bands and musicians will also perform throughout each day at the festival (click here for a complete schedule). $35-$175 via Benjamin Leatherman

Vance Joy

Saturday, March 18
Arizona Financial Theatre, 400 West Washington
James Gabriel Keogh didn’t always have his heart set on musical success. Before taking on the mantle of Vance Joy and making a splash in Australia’s music scene, Keogh was devoted to all things “footy.” A football player, he competed with several Australian rules teams before deciding to kick toward a new kind of goal. Back in 2013, his track “Riptide,” off his debut EP God Loves You When You're Dancing, blew up worldwide. Its mellow vibe, insistent acoustic riff, and folksy melodies made it stand out in an era where bands across the world were adopting a stomp-and-clap-on-the-porch, “Mumfordcore” sound. A central part of Joy's appeal is the warmth of his vocals. He sings with an open-hearted sincerity, his voice plaintive and yearning without sliding into mawkishness. With three albums under his belt so far, Joy's developed a relaxed yet passionate sound. He sings with the intimacy of a close friend sharing their innermost thoughts, crooning over a bed of twanging strings, sparse pianos, and drums that kick as hard as Joy’s old teammates. 8 p.m., $49.50-$173.50 via Ashley Naftule
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The late David Denogean.
Chris Chappell

Remembering David Denogean

Saturday, March 18
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road
On November 25, David Denogean, a track coach and teacher at Camelback High School as well as a long-time security guard at Rebel Lounge, was shot and killed. Denogean, 30, was walking his dog, Evie, near the parking lot of Feeney's Restaurant & Bar near 12th Street and Maryland Avenue when he was murdered by the still-unknown assailant. While his family seeks justice, others who knew Denogean, especially his cohorts in the local music scene, seek to honor his memory with a tribute show on Saturday night featuring Sundressed, Troubled Minds, Collide, and Bee Jennings. (Read more about the show here.) 5 p.m., $10-$100 via Chris Coplan
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Country music star Chris Young.
John Shearer

Boots in the Park

Saturday, March 18
Gilbert Regional Park, 3005 East Queen Creek Road
We’re smack dab in the middle of a stretch of great festival weather right now, and the promoters of Boots in the Park are planning to take advantage of the situation. This weekend, they’ll stage the second edition of the one-day country music event, which will feature sets by big-name recording artists from the genre. This year’s lineup will be headlined by Chris Young (the Tennessee-born singer-songwriter and the season four winner of Nashville Star), Trace Adkins (the hitmaker behind such chart-topping singles as “(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing” and “Ladies Love Country Boys.”) Other artists scheduled to perform include Dylan Scott, Frank Ray, Ella Langley, and Joe Peters. Noon, $99-$179 via Benjamin Leatherman

Together Pangea

Saturday, March 18
Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue
“I’ve been living beside you, baby now, for a long time,” Together Pangea’s William Keegan sings on “One Way or Another” off the band’s 2021 album Dye. “Pulling weeds in the tall tall grass, trying to make this place mine.” The desire for community is all over Dye, as Keegan sings about love and alienation — whether it's railing about superstition tearing people apart on “Rapture” or reflecting on the connections you can make on the road in “Alabama.” All of this is delivered with a garage rock crunch and power pop hooks. Together Pangea came up in the same Burger Records scene in California that produced fellow garage rock firebrands like The Black Lips, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, and Wavves. They share the same knack for writing catchy bubblegum melodies as many of the other Burger bands, but they eschew the harsher production you’d hear on something like Segall’s Melted for a poppier, sweeter sound. Together Pangea will rock your socks off but won’t make your ears bleed. With Ultra Q and Diva Bleach; 8:30 p.m., $18/$22 via Ashley Naftule
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Noel Paul Stookey, left, and Peter Yarrow.
Live Nation

Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey

Saturday, March 18
Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street
About six decades ago, the music charts were mostly filled with soft ballads and smooth soul arrangements from acts such as Shelley Fabares and Ray Charles. This was the impetus of the anti-war musical movement which started with songwriters taking pens to paper and ended up with protest songs at the top of the charts on national radio. The civil rights movement happening in America also inspired songs from progressive musical artists. None would be so prolific as Peter, Paul, and Mary, a folk trio who, if they couldn’t stop the conflicts, were certainly trying to heal the people going through it. The group, which was formed in 1961, consisted of Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. Travers passed away in 2009, but Yarrow and Stookey still tour the country together under their individual names. The singers will be appearing at Mesa Arts Center on Saturday night. (Read more about the show here.) 7 p.m., $50-$70 via Timothy Rawles
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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan
Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Timothy Rawles

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